A Games changer
This summer's London Olympics could not come at a better time for Andy Murray, says Barry Cowan.
Last Updated: 09/07/12 3:52pm
The Olympics could not come at a better time for Andy Murray.
The pain of losing his first Wimbledon final will remain raw for some time but this summer's Games will provide some welcome relief.
It'll be a wonderful experience for each and every British athlete and I'm sure Murray will thrive as part of Team GB.
Playing at the All England Club, a place he now knows so well, will only help him get back onto his feet ahead of next month's US Open - especially if he goes there with an Olympic medal in his locker.
It's Murray's misfortune to live in a golden era for men's tennis which in Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal boasts three of the most incredible athletes the sport has ever seen.
He has to keep knocking on the door and I'm sure he will. There is no point wallowing in pity for six months - if he does, he could take him another six months to get back to the level he is at now.
Instead of dwelling on his fourth Grand Slam final defeat he must think 'ok, I lost yesterday; what do I need to do to the win the next one?'
It's a mind-set that the phenomenal Federer fully embraces.
After the Swiss lost to Djokovic at the French Open I remember him saying 'sure, I'm disappointed but it's what I do from now that counts'. He made a determined effort to put what had happened behind him and move on.
He showed exactly that type of attitude when he was 2-0 down against Julien Benneteau in the third round and again early on in yesterday's final.
Murray played great tennis for two sets and should have gone two sets to love up. There was a lot of the 'Ivan Lendl factor' in the way he started, particularly the way he volleyed straight at his opponent.
A lesser player than Federer might have panicked under that pressure but he stayed calm on the inside and denied Murray the chance to push home his advantage.
Over the last 10 months Federer has played the big points supremely well and he continued in that vein on Sunday.
Murray made all the early running and constantly put pressure on Federer, but he missed chances to secure another key break at 2-2 and 4-4 in the second and the set - one of the best of the Championships - went to his opponent.
The killer-blow came in game five of the third, by which time the roof was closed and Federer was returning better as Murray struggled with his first serve.
Murray slipped a couple of times in the set and that seemed to destabilise him; anxiety threatened to take over and from 40-0 down Federer fought back to break.
For me that was the match done and dusted. I don't think Andy ever really recovered and played his best after that. He still played well but playing well doesn't get it done against Federer.
The closure of the roof did help Federer - you only have to look at his astonishing record indoors to understand that - but Murray didn't lose that game because it was indoors. He lost it as the pressure of the occasion - and Federer's phenomenal ability - told.
Murray was understandably drained after the defeat and I'm glad he showed that emotion to the world because there's too much of Andy's character that people never get to see.
I don't necessarily blame him for being too guarded at times. He tried to give people a glimpse of his personality early on in his career and unfortunately he said a few things that people haven't forgotten.
I'm convinced that he meant no ill-will but others have chosen to interpret it otherwise. Hopefully his performance and reaction to yesterday's defeat will encourage his detractors to get behind him.
It's really important that Murray is as good off the court as he is on it and I can't stress enough how important it is for any junior who wants to make that next step up to mirror the way that the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer handle their public image.
Murray has made great strides in that department in the last two weeks alone and his partnership with Lendl is reaping dividends.
He's playing a much more aggressive brand of tennis and providing he can get over the disappointment of yesterday as soon as he can, there's no reason why - as seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer himself said - that first Grand Slam triumph won't finally come.